Sunday, August 27, 2023

Biden's Carbon Capture Programs

They're expensive. From CNN:

The Biden administration on Friday announced its first major investment to kickstart the US carbon removal industry – something energy experts say is key to getting the country’s planet-warming emissions under control.

Direct air capture removal projects are akin to huge vacuum cleaners sucking carbon dioxide out of the air, using chemicals to remove the greenhouse gas. Once removed, CO2 gets stored underground, or is used in industrial materials like cement. On Friday, the US Department of Energy announced it is spending $1.2 billion to fund two new demonstration projects in Texas and Louisiana – the South Texas Direct Air Capture hub and Project Cypress in Louisiana

“These two projects are going to build these regional direct air capture hubs,” US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters. “That means they’re going to link everything from capture to processing to deep underground storage, all in one seamless process.”

Granholm said the projects are expected to remove more than 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air annually once they are up and running – the equivalent of removing nearly 500,000 gas cars off the road.
So let's have a look at the numbers.

$535 per metric ton. Seems high.

I don't know the latest cost numbers for carbon capture, but I'll post this and come back with more information.


David Appell said...

Yeah you're right, duh -- I need to consider startup costs. I don't know what those are (yet). I'll see what I can find. Thanks.

Layzej said...

It's possible the 1.2 billion covers the start up costs, and the first 10 years of operation. In that case, it's only $53.5/ton, and possibly less if the running costs are low and the life of the plants are >10 years.

Then again, there's many a slip twixt a cup and the lip, and large infrastructure projects rarely come in under budget.

It will be interesting to see how this progresses and what the costs end up being. I'm not aware of another project of this scale, that includes everything from capture to processing to deep underground storage.

My own hope is that we can get emissions under control by transforming the way we generate and consume energy, but maybe this is unrealistic. Maybe capture and storage is the future.

David Appell said...

Yes, thanks. I'm going to look into this more when I get a chance here.

I read that CCS is currently capturing 2 Gt CO2/yr, which is 5% of global emissions. That really surprised me, but I don't think it's all air capture (or nearly so).

I'd also like to see emissions be drastically reduced, also for the drop in air pollution, which I just read kills 7 M people a year worldwide, water pollution, ecological destruction, etc. I'd also like to think CCS could be meaningful. But my first guess is no, not even close. Gotta learn more, I'm out of date.